Community Management 301: Strategies to Manage a Growing Fanbase
If you’ve followed the guidance of our first two posts on community building and management, you’re probably well on your way to galvanizing and growing a dedicated audience to buoy your company’s growth aspirations.
As that fanbase expands, though, you’ll start to face new challenges and needs if you want to maintain the success of your community management efforts. When you’ve built up a community or hundreds or thousands of followers, your community management strategy is going to look far different than when you first started positioning your brand as a destination where your audience could find community with other fans.
Growing pains are always a nice problem to have. But if you want to avoid undoing all of the hard work you put into growing your fanbase, you’ll need to adapt your strategy.
We’re here to help. As you start to see the fruits of your community management labor, here are some tips and tricks to sustain that growth and manage your flourishing community at scale.
1. Maintain Your Level of Engagement as You Scale
When your community scales in size, maintaining your level of individual engagement isn’t realistic. But this doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels and ease back on the effort you put into engaging your followers across social media and other platforms.
It’s important to maintain the same schedule and consistency to demonstrate that you aren’t taking your followers for granted. Even if your business can’t engage individuals on the level that was once possible, your community will continue to engage with itself, which can offload some of the demands that may have been placed on your company’s shoulders in the early days of community management.
But your community’s engagement will quickly start to flag if your brand shows signs of being too busy, or having other priorities. Continue scheduling posts, responding to comments when you can, and taking similar steps to be engaged and interacting with your brand advocates.
2. Create Community Venues to Serve a Larger Audience
When you’re a brand-new business, those first customers mean everything to your company—and it’s easy to give them tons of personalized attention to make sure they become strong advocates for your brand.
As your business grows, though, it becomes unsustainable to regularly engage with your audience on a 1-to-1 basis. But providing personalized, relevant experiences is still important to keep that audience engaged. To achieve this, your business will need to create new opportunities for community-building among a large audience.
Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this. Your business could host in-person events and, as discussed in a prior article , run a user-generated content campaign to drive community-building and interaction through that event.
Similarly, your business could host live and/or virtual conversations, demonstrations, or other events that share important insights and other information with your customers. Online forums and/or groups on social media can also be used as a gathering place for your community, providing a scalable infrastructure as you continue to grow.
3. Continue to Test and Optimize Your Approach
As your business and its community grows, you may discover new trends and patterns in how your audience interacts, and what types of content inspire the greatest engagement.
This can happen for many reasons. In some cases, your previous community management best practices may have been based on the preferences of an audience that offered a small sample size of what your ideal audience actually prefers.
But as your business grows and evolves, it’s also possible that the makeup of your audience will experience its own changes. By continuing to evaluate performance, you make it easy for your community management strategy to test new messaging and other approaches that may increase engagement and other measures of success. Ongoing testing is important across any advertising and marketing strategy, and community management is no exception.
4. Use Paid Social Promotion to Reach a Wider Audience
Happy with your community management strategy, and eager to drive faster growth? For businesses that want to scale their audience, paid social advertising is the best way to boost high-performing content to engage prospective followers.
Social platforms make this easy by offering dozens of different targeting filters to help you precisely define and target your audience. This paid promotion can help you break out of your own social bubble and reach a broader audience that may be interested in your brand’s community, but has yet to come across it organically.
By using paid campaigns to boost only your top-performing social media posts, you can put your best foot forward when making a good impression—and build upon the strong community foundation already in place.
A loyal fanbase is one of the best assets any business can have. That’s true regardless of whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or a multinational corporation.
As you seek to maximize your brand’s social currency—and convert strong customer relationships into sustainable revenue for your business—a digital advertising partner can help you adjust your goals and your strategies to meet your evolving needs as a growing organization.
From community management to a holistic advertising and marketing strategy, Cox Media’s experts are here to help. Ready to get started? Contact us today.
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